MailChimp Integration

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  • Updated 2 months ago
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Last Updated: 20/03/2020

About MailChimp  

MailChimp is an online email marketing solution that allows you to send marketing emails and targeted campaigns to your clients. Not only does it get around the various problems that occur when trying to send out a large number of emails such as rate limiting and blocking by ISPs, but it also allows you to monitor metrics such as bounced and viewed emails, as well as click-through rates.

Using MailChimp is ideal for sending your regular newsletters or practice updates and the best thing is that it is free for most practices with less than 2,000 subscribers and up to 10,000 emails per month.

Front Desk’s MailChimp integration allows you to upload your client list to MailChimp, and keep it in sync with changes to Front Desk patient files. Front Desk also allows you to produce subgroups of these contacts (called 'Segments') by using the existing Front Desk reports. The topics on this page should be used in conjunction with MailChimp’s documentation.

The topics below assume you already have a MailChimp account, and some prior knowledge of MailChimp.

Create an Audience in MailChimp

To begin using the MailChimp integration, you will need to have an Audience setup in MailChimp. For most users this will be created automatically upon registering a MailChimp account. This audience can be managed from both Front Desk and MailChimp as it syncs in both directions.  Smartsoft recommends that you create a new audience containing only your Front Desk client list.  If needed, an additional audience can be created manually with the following steps:

1. Log in to your MailChimp account and click Audiences. 

2. Open the Manage Audience and click View audiences.

3. Click Create Audience, and enter appropriate Audience details for your business.


4. Click Save to finalise your audience creation.

Enabling MailChimp integration and uploading your patients

With your ‘Audience’ created, you now need to link your Front Desk system to MailChimp, before uploading your patients as MailChimp ‘contacts’.

1. Login to MailChimp and go to your Account.

2. Under the Extras menu, select API Keys.

3. If you don’t already have an API Key listed, click Create a Key. Otherwise, highlight and copy your API Key.

4. In Front Desk, go to the MailChimp tab in System Information

5. Tick the Enable MailChimp Integration option and paste your MailChimp API Key below, then click Connect to MailChimp.

If successful, the following message will be displayed.

The details of your account will be displayed to you, along with your MailChimp audiences.

6. Select your Mailchimp audience and click

7. Click Yes to the confirmation message.

8. As you upload your client list the upload progress will be displayed, which can be cancelled at any time.

9. Once complete, the results of the sync will be displayed. This lists successful additions, along with any errors that have occurred. Click Close.

10. The Last Sync date will also have been updated.  The Members count will also update over a short time, as the contacts are processed in MailChimp. 

Resolving duplicate email addresses MailChimp doesn’t allow more than one subscriber with the same email address, so before each MailChimp sync Front Desk will check your clients for duplicate email addresses. For each duplicate email address you must select a primary contact. The primary contact will be the one whose details are included in the MailChimp sync. These are the details that will be included in any MailChimp campaigns, should you choose to personalise them by using list fields / merge tags. For example, if you have several members of a family in your client list, all of whom share an email address, one of those people will need to be selected before they will be synced to MailChimp.

1. After clicking Sync, or before adding patients to a segment, you may see the following message.

2. You will be presented with a list of any patients with duplicate email addresses. For each one, you can choose to do nothing (in which case they will not be uploaded to MailChimp), or select a primary contact.

3. If you need to change the primary contact for a patient you can do this using the MailChimp button, situated next to the Email field on patient files which have a duplicate email address.

Note: patients who haven’t been chosen to be the primary contact for their email address can’t be unsubscribed from MailChimp. You must unsubscribe the primary contact. The MailChimp checkbox on these patients will be unavailable.

Unsubscribing Patients can unsubscribe themselves from your MailChimp audience by clicking the unsubscribe link in your email campaigns. Patients unsubscribed in this way cannot be subscribed again using Front Desk.

You can choose to unsubscribe a patient by unticking the MailChimp checkbox on the patient’s file. The patient will be removed from your MailChimp list at the next sync. At any time you can resubscribe the patient by ticking the MailChimp checkbox again.

Patients will be automatically unsubscribed from your list if they are deleted from Front Desk. They will also be unsubscribed if you archive them, and you have chosen to Exclude Archived Patients.


A segment is a subgroup of contacts (MailChimp audience) which can be used to target emails at a particular group of your patients. Front Desk can create segments using many of the available reports – For example, you can create a segment using the ‘Recall Patient List’ to target patients with an upcoming recall.

1. Segments can be created and managed by clicking the MailChimp button on the Recall Patient List, Active / Inactive Patients report, Birthday List, Patient Referrals report, Patient List, and Events Report.

2. If your list contains no segments you will be prompted to enter a New Segment Name.

3. The MailChimp Segments window will be displayed. This contains all of your segments. The number of selected patients is displayed at the top.

4. You can choose to add the selected patients to one of your current segments or to create a New Segment. Highlight the segment you wish to use, and click Add to Segment. You will be asked to confirm before Front Desk continues.

5. When complete, Front Desk will display the following message.

6. If any errors occurred, which could happen if trying to add a patient who has been unsubscribed from your list, Front Desk will display a summary of the failed email addresses.

7. You can also use the MailChimp Segments window to create a New Segment, Reset (remove all of the patients from) a segment, or Delete a segment.

8. When creating an email or campaign in Mailchimp these segments can be selected as the recipient, allowing you to target your emails accordingly. 
Photo of Joshua

Joshua, Application Support

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Posted 5 years ago

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Emma Howard

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Thanks Joshua - Well written & most helpful - Emma - Equilibrium Health :)
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Thanks Joshua. Do we need to actively sync the database manually every now and then, or does it just happen behind the scenes and updates the MailChimp list on a schedule? - Karl - Northern Spinal
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Steven, Business Care

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Hi Karl

Front Desk will automatically sync with MailChimp every time you use the MailChimp button from a report in Front Desk to either create or update a segment (subset of your patients). 

If you are using MailChimp to email all of your clients (and not using the segment feature) you should first go to the MailChimp tab in System Information and use the Sync button to manually update your contact list. We have included this feature in the event that a user does not want to use segments, though in our experience segments help you reach your target market more effectively. 

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Mark Banks

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These instructions bear no resemblance to the present form of Mailchimp
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Andrew, Community Manager

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Hi Mark

MailChimp are continually making changes to their website. Initially it was a few changes and it was very similar. At this point we will do an update at our earliest opportunity.
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Andrew, Community Manager

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Hi Mark

The Mailchimp article has now been updated to reflect changes in the Mailchimp interface.  
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Mark Banks

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As a new mailchimp free account holder, i'm only allowed one audience which will come up in the name of the business.  If I go to the Audience name and campaign defaults to make changes as per your supplied instructions there is no facility to change the contact information for the audience. This may be possible for an account with multiple audiences but i don't see it here.  Can you please help?